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Orion pool participates in world record

Record-breaking attempt good way to promote water and swimming safety

Pool DirectorAmy Kuiper sits by the LOHS public pool. In around one week, the pool will become the site of an attempted world record. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
June 08, 2011 - Lake Orion High School will soon become the site for an attempt on breaking a world record.

After receiving news about an international attempt on the world's largest swimming lesson, Aquatics Director Amy Kuiper, of the LOHS Natatorium, decided to enter the facility to be one of around 50 different locations to hold a simultaneous swim lesson.

Kuiper said while the world record initially caught her eye, she hopes the event will bring light to swim safety.

"Children should know how to swim, because drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death in kids between the ages of one and 14," she said. "I'm really trying to promote safety around the water, especially because of the incidents we had last year."

Kuiper said the incidents, one of which included the tragedy at Lake Superior involving Douglas Smith and his son Eric, of Oxford, last year shed light on water safety.

"There was another incident where one kid went down, another went in after him and went down, and in the end something like eight kids died," said Kuiper. "No one had a life jacket, no one knew how to help each other -- it was awful.

"On top of it, I've read several times that people who don't learn to swim as kids likely never will."

Yet the motivation behind wanting to teach swim safety hasn't stopped Kuiper from seeing the event as something fun to do while learning something valuable. The event, which also set the record last year, has quadrupled in terms of locations participating. Kuiper said her minimum number of participants must be 50 in order to qualify for participation - something she said presents no easy task.

"When they ran the event last year they got the record with just under 4,000 people, and in trying to beat this record it will include places all over the U.S. and several other countries," she said. "Right now we have a few high school students and community kids, staff, lifeguards, water safety instructors, so we're taking safety into account, but instruction and grouping all these people - to be in the Guiness Book of World Record you have to be pretty organized.

"But the event is open to everyone who wants to sign up, we just need to know before hand. We need to know by June 13 at the latest."

The event will be recorded with video and still images for verification, and every venue will be held simultaneously regardless of time zone.

The event will be held at LOHS's Natatorium on June 14 at 11 a.m. Anyone interested in participating should contact Kuiper at 248-814-1715 or her e-mail atakuiper@lakeorion.k12.mi.us.

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